More importantly, in the Traditional Roman Rite, today is the Fourth Sunday After Easter. The Liturgy during Easter Season is full of joy and hence the Church feeds us with joyful Introits and cheerful Paschal Alleluias! What I want to narrow in on today is the Collect of the Mass:
"God, who makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant to Thy people to love that which Thou commandest and desire that which Thou dost promise; that so, among the changing things of this world, our hearts may be set where true joys are to be found. Through Our Lord..."Collects are one of the many beautiful features of the Traditional Mass. They include terse petitions to God which ask for graces necessary for our salvation.
Let us break down this Collect:
The first line tells us that this prayer is being addressed to God and that the particular acknowledgement that He makes is for the minds of the faithful to be of one will. Without God, we could do nothing and so when Christians are united in doing virtue, we must always acknowledge this to be a work of God. By ourselves we would be like sheep gone astray but He makes of one will.
The petition in this Collect is quite simple and that is to love what God commands us and to ardently desire those things that He promises us. We have many commandments to follow but we should be doing this out of love and not out of fear. Yes, we should have a holy fear of God but it should be rooted in love. Even though the word "love" has been overused and misunderstood, it is still and always be the major virtue to acquire if we want to be saved. When we love God, all of His commandments become lighter and easier to perform. See, when a man loves his woman, he will do the most remarkable things to take care of her. On some nights he will sacrifice sleep so that he will take care of the crying baby so that his beloved will have a chance to recharge. If she is in the hospital, he will again sacrifice so much to be with her. If a husband does this for a wife, than how much should we do for God? We must love the Holy Trinity and do everything to please God. Also, when we love, we will also desire all the promises that God has made. Even in the midst of so much distress here on Earth, God promises a Crown for the man who endures temptation (St. James 1:12).
The next part is the aspiration which tells us the results of the petitions. If we love God and desire His promises, then, our hearts will be set on the true joys even in the midst of all the changes of the world. Let us face it, the world cannot satisfy our hearts. We might be content every once in a while but that feeling goes away and a Cross enters our life. The life of man here on Earth is nothing but misery and sin. However, we plead to God that our hearts will be set on the joys that the Lord provides us. God is always our consolation even while we are suffering. Actually, the suffering in itself can lead to a good when it reminds us about how passing this world is. If we did not suffer, we might live here very comfortably without any concern for Heavenly Goods. It is when we suffer that we are reminded about how this place is wretched and that we should detach ourselves from worldly things/goods. Of course, the collect ends with the standard "Per Dominum Nostrum..."
May Almighty God look favorably on us poor sinners as we aspire towards our Heavenly Reward.
3 May 2015
Fourth Sunday After Easter